Random Thoughts on Voting

Fri, May 23, 2008

Moms & Politics

As we wind down in the primary season, the hub-bub about voter registration will be gone because everyone is all registered to vote, right? Wrong.

More registration efforts are about to begin anew to get people ready to vote in the general election in November.

This month over at BlogHer we’ve been trying to talk about voter registration. To be honest, I’ve had a hard time just focusing on one topic today — there are more efforts afoot to limit and challenge who should be able to vote in the general election, so that’s a big one. But since I wrote about those efforts on that in an earlier post, I thought a random cruise around the blogopshere to see what people are doing and saying about voting would be interesting.

I couldn’t vote in the primaries the year I turned 18 because of my autumn birthday. But I could register for the November general election. Being a political geek early on in life, I was pretty damn excited when that voter registration card came in the mail. (No, I didn’t have it laminated or framed!)

So I was excited when I read about efforts underway in Florida to register 16-year-olds to vote. Don’t call out the election fraud people! Those registering don’t actually get to vote until they turn 18, but what a creative idea to cultivate interest in high-schoolers about the process and the responsibilities of our electoral process! (I TOLD you I was a geek!)

More prisoners in Maine & Vermont may be getting to cast ballots for president in the fall. Most states don’t allow prisoners to vote, but Maine and Vermont do. So the NAACP and political party officials are kicking off efforts to make sure that those behind bars an exercise a right that most others in prison can’t.

Interestingly, while the Democratic National Committee, as well as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, are still trying to figure out what to do with the votes case in the Florida primary, Obama is pushing ahead in the Sunshine State with his own GOVT efforts. It strikes me as a little funny that the Obama campaign is pushing hard in Florida when he doesn’t want the primary votes to count, but wants them to matter in the November general election. That could leave Florida voters scratching their heads.

When you do register to vote, you may want to think twice about whether you complete the line where you’re asked for your e-mail address. According to Adventures in Email Marketing blog, you might, as she did, find yourself the victim of political spam:

I made the mistake of putting down my email (which is optional) last time I voted. Adding my email to my voter registration information was eye-opening, because in the following months, I got about 5 emails from Democratic Party candidates, and multiple emails per candidate. Doing some research and replying to the emails, I asked, “where did you get my email” and they replied with conflicting stories of: “Public records,” and “Don’t worry, these emails aren’t public.” I kid you not.

Of course, maybe it’s time to change the whole process and let everyone register AND vote on election day at the polls, according to Jackie Doherty at her blog:

Last November, I was urging a young friend of my son’s to vote in the local elections. Well, he had been away at school and had never gotten around to registering and by that time had missed the cut-off date. Why choose an arbitrary cut-off day that’s weeks before the election (I think it’s 20 days in Mass[achussets]) when technology makes it easy for us to streamline the process and allow people to just show up, register and vote. Seven states, including New Hampshire and Maine, have election day registration. Statistics show an increase in voter turnout in those states: for example, in 2004, four of these (ME, NH, WI and MN) were in the top ten for voter turnout.

So there you have it — a little tour around the blogosphere to see what bloggers and others are saying about voting and registration now that almost all of the primaries are over.

Of course, don’t forget, HBO premieres the voting movie of our generation this weekend — Recount, the story of the 2000 Florida presidential recount. Watch out for that hanging chad!

Do you have any great ideas on how to make this process better?

Cross-posted from BlogHer where PunditMom is a Contributing Editor for Politics & News.

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One Response to “Random Thoughts on Voting”

  1. anniegirl1138 Says:

    I don’t know how to make it easier. In Iowa, where I use to live, you could register to vote when you renewed or applied for a driver’s license and your card was mailed to you.

    I knew a civics teacher who taught seniors and gave them all registration forms and talked about the importance of voting. Apparently the under 30 crowd are beginning to vote on par with their parents and grandparents, so this is encouraging. It’s sad we take our freedom to vote so lightly in America.

    This year I have to vote by absentee ballot as I live in Canada. I am a bit worried about the timeliness of getting the ballot with time enough to send it back.

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